Q-220. Seasonal and Spatial Prevalence of Thermophilic Campylobacters in Four Agriculture Watersheds across Canada

I. U. H. Khan1, V. Gannon2, R. Kent3, W. Koning4, D. Lapen5, A. Loughborough1, S. McFadyen6, M. Meunier3, J. Miller7, N. Neumann8, R. Phillips3, H. Shreier9, E. Topp10, E. van Bochove11, T. A. Edge1;
1Environment Canada, Burlington, ON, CANADA, 2Pub. Hlth. Agency of Canada, Lethbridge, AB, CANADA, 3Environment Canada, Ottawa, ON, CANADA, 4Alberta Environment, Calgary, AB, CANADA, 5Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, ON, CANADA, 6Hlth. Canada, Ottawa, ON, CANADA, 7Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB, CANADA, 8Alberta Provincial Lab. for Pub. Hlth. (Microbiology), Calgary, AB, CANADA, 9Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, CANADA, 10Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, London, ON, CANADA, 11Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Quebec, ON, CANADA.

The aim of this study was to investigate the seasonal and spatial occurrence of Campylobacter spp. in agriculture watersheds. A total of 302 surface water samples were collected on a bi-weekly basis from April to December in 2007 at 25 sites in four agriculture watersheds across Canada; Sumas River near Vancouver, British Columbia; the Oldman/Lower Little Bow River near Lethbridge, Alberta; the South Nation River near Ottawa, Ontario; and the Bras d’Henri/Fourchette River area near Quebec City, Quebec. Each watershed provided representation of some of the most intensive farming areas in Canada for poultry, beef, dairy and hog, respectively. One site in each watershed was located away from agricultural impacts to serve as a reference site. Water samples were tested for Campylobacter using a most probable number (MPN) culture enrichment protocol. The putative culture isolates were confirmed by a genus- and species-specific multiplex PCR assays. An overall 49% (148 of 302) of samples were positive for Campylobacter spp. The recovery rates were highest in fall months (68%) compared to spring (48%) and summer (42%). C. jejuni was found most frequently in fall months (51.3%), as was C. coli (28.2%). However, C. lari was more frequently recovered in summer months (19.1%), than the spring (14.1%) or fall (5.1%). The recovery of Campylobacter spp. also varied between watersheds and stream orders at sampling sites. Campylobacter was more common at agricultural sites than reference sites, except in the South Nation. Campylobacter was most common at agricultural sites in the Sumas (74%), and generally had the highest MPN numbers in this watershed (10,000/L). C. jejuni (42%) and C. lari (9%) were most common in the poultry intensive Sumas, while C. coli was most prevalent in the hog intensive Bras d’Henri watershed (33%). All Campylobacter spp. were more common in small streams (65.2%) (Strahler stream order ≤3) than in large streams (36.5%). The present findings showed different patterns of Campylobacter spp. at different sampling sites within and between watersheds, which will contribute to a better understanding of the potential human and animal risks associated with surface water in these agricultural watersheds.